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Kendrick Perkins getting closer to return

Dec 21, 2010, 5:49 PM EDT

Kendrick Perkins

The good news just keeps on coming for the 22-4 Boston Celtics. According to Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston, Celtics starting center and defensive specialist Kendrick Perkins is participating in on-court activity and may be able to return to full-contact practice by January:

Center Kendrick Perkins participated in his most heightened on-court activity since undergoing offseason ACL surgery on his right knee, taking a big step forward in his quest to return to the lineup later this season…

…Perkins, who got fitted for a new brace last week, said he dunked immediately after trying it on — “Just to make sure I still can,” he joked — but said he even surprised himself Tuesday by not thinking about the injury and moving well.

“A couple times I did [think about the knee], like on a pick-and-roll that I went up and dunked, but I didn’t even think about it then, not until after. I was like, ‘Damn, I might be all right, after all.’ I felt pretty good out there.

Doc Rivers hopes that Perkins will start participating in full-court practice by late January or early February, but Perkins is looking at the All-Star break. In any case, there’s no need to rush Perkins back on the court — again, the Celtics are 22-4, and Shaquille O’Neal and his 67.3% Field Goal percentage has been one of the biggest surprises of the season.

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